Sarawak polls “any time from now” – CM

By S. Harrish

SARAWAK Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg sounded the alert that the state may hold its polls “any time from now” despite the record number of Covid-19 cases.

In the clearest indication to date, Abang Johari, who also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president and chairman of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), is seeking to extend its mandate.

“I want to convey a message that the drum will be sounded. I have the wood on standby and also the drum on standby.

“When the drum is struck with the wood at any time from now, we must all go out to defend PBB and GPS in the election,” he told a special PBB convention in Sibu yesterday.

According to a MalayMail report, Abang Johari however did not say when he will advise Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud to dissolve the state assembly.

The state assembly’s term expires next June.

Abang Johari said PBB and GPS have the experience in running the state and they will defend the state’s rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report.

However, GPS component member SUPP seemed to contradict this when its president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian reportedly said that the chances of elections this year were low.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic would dampen any election plans the state might have.

“Elections may be next year,” said Sim, who is state minister for housing and local government.

“The same virus still exists. Sarawak has lost 19 lives due to this virus,” he said, according to Astro Awani.